Vintage Holiday Reading


Roberta Church, Christmas c1921Roberta Church, Christmas c. 1921

While doing archival research, I found these letters from a very young Roberta Church to her aunt, Mary Church Terrell (first president of the National Association of Colored Women), discussing the books Roberta received for Christmas.  Also, all you digital people and smart phone addicts: read to the end–it’s worth it, I *absolutely* promise!

 16 Jan 1924
Dear Aunt Mollie,
I can’t tell you how pleased I am with the books you sent me for Christmas. When I wrote to Santa Claus I told him to be sure to bring me some books. I have finished reading The Radio Girls and enjoyed it so much and I am very anxious to begin the other book. When I get home from school and prepare my lesson for the next day it seems that bedtime comes before I have time to do anything scarcely. I am sure the Girl Scouts will be interesting, I had a fine time during the holidays. Violet came over every day and we played with dolls and worked on my electric stove, skated on roller skates, rode on the slide that Papa gave me last Christmas and which is still in the parlor, read books, played games.
Thanking you for the books and wishing you a happy New Year I am.
With love, Roberta

14 Jan 1925
Dear Aunt Mollie,
Thank you so much for the book you sent me for Christmas. It is so interesting and I shall soon finish reading it. I had a real nice Christmas and enjoyed my vacation very much but I am now hard at school work again.
You asked me about the books I liked. You have set me quite a few books including the ones I am going to mention. I like each one more than I can tell you. The Radio Girls, Campfire Girls, and Sandman’s Stories of Drusilla Doll. I have enjoyed every line of all of them. Some of these days I am going to have Grandma make a list of all my books, baby books and all and send to you. I know you would like to see just what I have.
Love to all—
With love to you from Roberta

Also, it’s worth reading this excerpt from The Radio Girls–by the second-last line you’ll know why!

radio girlsThe Radio Girls of Roselawn, Margaret Penrose (1922)
“It has been rather windy. I suppose it must be rough out in the ocean. Oh, Amy!” Jess suddenly exclaimed, “if I get my radio rigged why can’t we communicate with the Marigold when it is at sea?”
“I don’t know just why you can’t. But I guess the wireless rigging on the yacht isn’t like this radio thing you are going to set up. They use some sort of telegraph alphabet.”
“I know,” declared Jessie with conviction. “I’ll tell Darry to put in a regular sending set–like the one I hope to have, if father will let me. And we can have our two sets tuned so that we can hear each other speak.”
“My goodness! You don’t mean it is as easy as all that?” cried Amy.
“Didn’t you read that magazine article?” demanded her chum. “And didn’t the man say that, pretty soon, we could carry receiving and sending sets in our pockets–maybe–and stop right on the street and send or receive any news we wanted to?”
“No, I sha’n’t,” declared Amy. “Pockets spoil the set of even a sports skirt. Where you going now?”  Read more here.

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One response to “Vintage Holiday Reading

  1. Perhaps cell phones should now be re-named “Penroses” in honour of Penrose’s farsighted idea.

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